Gary Rodin, M.D., head of the Department of Supportive Care at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, in Toronto, Canada, discusses CALM, an intervention designed to help patients with advanced-stage cancer cope and talk about their concerns.
Patients with advanced or metastatic cancer often face a great deal of distress, as they and their families must make decisions regarding treatments and end of life care. CALM was designed to help these patients, by giving them an outlet to discuss four main points: symptom control, self-concept and personal relationships, meaning in life and fears and concerns regarding the future. Having an outlet for these thoughts is beneficial, especially in the world of oncology, where appointments may be very short or focused more on the next treatment steps.
In a trial involving 300 patients, half were assigned CALM, which is run by trained health care professionals in three to six sessions, and the other half received standard of care. Those who were involved in CALM demonstrated fewer depressive symptoms. Now, Rodin and his team are training health care professions in more than 20 countries to use CALM and help patients around the globe.